(Oct. 18, 2013) When her husband died in a boating accident in 1978, a former school teacher took over the family motel business.
More than 30 years later, Rose Brous has been with the Flamingo Motel for 48 of its 50 years, celebrating the Flamingo’s 50th anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 6.
“The years went by very quickly,” Brous, the motel’s owner, said. “I feel old, but I love it.”
The Flamingo has changed over the years, growing from 23 units to 112, including efficiencies. The original rooms has no telephones, TVs, air conditioning, refrigerators or microwaves, but now feature them all, Brous said,
“When Ocean City tried to grow, we tried to grow,” she said. “It’s changed so much.”
“Back in the day, Memorial Day to Labor Day, you’d just turn on the sign and wait. It’s a different animal now,” her son and motel General Manager Joel Brous said.
The Flamingo opened in 1962 under the ownership of its builder, Hugh Wilde. The next year, Wilde sold the business to George Brous, along with his parents Nicholas and Roberta.
Two years later, Rose and George married, and the couple soon moved to Ocean City year-round.
“I worked my summers in Ocean City waiting tables at Embers when it was on Ninth Street, paying my way through college,” Brous said, so “it was very easy to adjust.”
Adjusting to losing her husband in 1978, however, took some time.
“I was a school teacher. I was thinking about going back to school,” Brous said. “But I decided to keep the motel.”
She used her teaching background to run the hotel, organizing staff and bookings from the front office.
“The front desk was my teacher’s desk,” Brous said.
As her sons Joel and Nick Brous got older, they joined the business.
“They were a big help, and they never asked for any special privileges,” Rose Brous said, recalling Joel at age 3 carrying rolls of toilet paper to guests’ rooms.
“It was a pretty cool place to grow up,” Joel Brous said of Ocean City.
By 11, Nick was doing laundry, and Joel officially joined the payroll at 14, mostly maintaining the pool. Now, Joel manages the motel and his son Dryden Brous, 15, has joined as a part-time worker and the third generation in the family business.
The Flamingo still has loyal guests that return year after year, many with their favorite rooms, Rose Brous said.
“There’s a lot of people you know by name,” she said. “It’s been really fun with the families that come here, seeing their kids grow up.”
“It’s been crazy, but fun,” Joel Brous said.
Though she wasn’t immediately sure about keeping the business in 1978, Rose Brous said she felt lucky to have a business in Ocean City.
“In Ocean City, we all work together,” she said. “We compete with each other, but we all work together to promote Ocean City.”
The Flamingo Motel will be open until mid-October, closing until late March.
It celebrated its 50th year this summer with anniversary specials and a reception last Saturday attended by around 100 friends, family members and motel guests.
Visit www.theflamingomotel.com to learn more about the Flamingo Motel.